by Joanna Bailey
The newly completed Ullswater Way loops all the way around the Lake, and you can spend many happy hours wandering on the footpaths, with breathtaking views all around, or head up high and be overwhelmed by the natural beauty on display. We even have Wordsworth’s Daffodils at Glencoyne Bay in the Spring – the place which inspired his famous poem.
As you wander, you can’t help but notice the rather fetching vessels majestically steaming up and down the water, with the iconic red chimneys. Ullswater Steamers run one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world, and they have been gliding along beautiful Ullswater since 1877 when ‘Lady of the Lake’ was launched. Built in Glasgow and transported to Pooley Bridge, the magnificent steamboat started a generation of steaming craft on Ullswater and is the oldest working vessel in the world.
Ullswater is often referred to as the ‘Dark Lake’ and legend connects it to King Arthur. Whether this is the place where Arthur encountered the fabled Lady of the Lake will never be known.
The elegant steamers have an open deck, a covered upper deck, as well as cosy saloons downstairs, licensed bar and loos so you can travel in style and keep warm, or feel the wind and spray from the Lake in your face. And perhaps imagine King Arthur in the surrounding countryside.
You can choose a cruise on 363 days of the year, to last from 20-120 minutes, and connect to some of the most famous walking routes in the National Park. Tickets can be bought online or on the day, and dogs are welcome too.
One of our favourites is to take the steamer to Howtown and walk back along the shoreline to Glenridding. It’s about 7 miles, though you can add height to it if you’re feeling energetic and head up Place Fell. You’ll also wander back through Side Farm tea-room, which has some of the tastiest – and biggest portions of homemade cake we’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.
Another stunning alighting point is Aira Jetty where you’ll be able to head out and explore Aira Force. This incredible waterfall and woodland walk is particularly spectacular after our legendary Lake District rainfall. There’s also a nice café and loos at the car park and you can easily enjoy half a day here. The paths continue up to Dockray where there’s a decent pub, The Royal, and then if you head across to Gowbarrow Fell there’s an excellent 2-hour loop walk to bring you back around to Aira Force car park and down to the jetty.
Head right up the lake to Pooley Bridge and you can spend a happy few hours exploring this pretty village, with lots of pubs, shops and cafes and footpaths to enjoy. You’ll also see the brand-new Bridge which was rebuilt and recently opened after Storm Desmond raged through the area and demolished and destroyed the whole of the previous bridge.
1. The lake was used to test mini-subs and diving craft during WWII.
2. Ullswater was the setting of the original and longest-running ‘Milk Tray’ TV adverts.
3. It is named after ‘Ulfs’ a Viking Lord.
Book your Lake District Lodge Holiday and start planning your next trip now!
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